Sahara Camel trek (One camel per person)
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Upon arrival to Tangier you will be greeted by your driver. We will then start our journey to Chefchaouen via the city of Tétouan. Chefchaouen is known worldwide for its Medina of winding alleys, whitewashed houses with blue turquoise doors, wrought iron windows and colorful tile covered roofs. The souks are decorated with their traditionally dressed inhabitants boasting their straw hats. The best way to discover this “Holy Town” is to wander around and take in the atmosphere.
This city has a powerful charm that you really can feel in the Outa-el-Hammam square, in the cobblestone medina. Sit on the terrace of a cafe and take in the view of the grand Tarik-Ben-Ziad mosque whose octagonal minaret is inspired by that of the Torre de Oro in Seville. The Andalusian architectural influence can be found in the kasbah and its gardens, at the center of the medina. Chefchaouen is renowned for its basket-making and its pottery.
Dinner and lodging in Riad/Hotel.
Early in the morning we will continue our journey towards Fez. Before arriving in Fez, we will stop along the way in Volubilis. Volubilis is a partly excavated Berber and Roman city in Morocco situated near the city of Meknes and commonly considered as the ancient capital of the kingdom of Mauretania. It was originally built by the Phoenicians, and the city came into its own during the Roman Empire, the well-preserved Arch of Caracalla still stands.
Our final stop of the day is Fez. Fez is one of the imperial cities along with Marrakesh, Meknes and Rabat. It is considered the cultural and religious center of Morocco. Boasting more than 12 centuries of history, as well as a medina that is a UNESCO-listed World Heritage Site. Fez is a multifarious city renowned for the splendour of its faded glory. The historic city of Fez is divided into three districts.
The old medina quarters of Fes el-Bali, the original city founded by the Idrisid dynasty, in the late 8th century, is the site of the famous Qarawiyyin University, the oldest continually-operating university in the world and the Chouara Tannery from the 11th century, one of the oldest tanneries in the world. The smaller Fez el-Jdid, founded in the 13th century, is the site of the enormous Royal Palace and the Mellah, the Jewish quarter, and the modern Ville Nouvelle (new city) constructed during the French colonial era. The Medina of Fez is listed as a World Heritage Site and is believed to be one of the world's largest urban pedestrian zones and considered as one of the most extensive and best conserved historic towns of the Arab-Muslim world.
Dinner and lodging in Fez
After breakfast, our local guide will join us for a tour of Fez. The whole day will be devoted to discovering Fez, a UNESCO World Heritage and the oldest of the imperial cities, and one of the most complete medieval cities in existence. Surrounded by huge defensive walls, it seems suspended in a time warp, somewhere between the Middle Ages and the modern. But it’s more than that, it is a living city almost devoid of tourists, where whilst wandering amongst its amazing 9,000 tiny streets you experience its noisy hawkers selling everything from colorful vegetables, to delicious middle eastern pastries flavored with cinnamon and honey. We’ll take you through the maze-like souks of the old medina including a visit to the Zaouia (sanctuary) of MoulayIdriss II, founder of Fez.
Fez served as the capital of Morocco for more than 350 years and is home to the University of Al Karaouine, the oldest operating university in the world. Your guided tour will take you to Moulay Idriss mausoleum, the Nejjarine Fountains and the Tanneries. After lunch you will also view the exterior of the Royal Palace and walk through the famous Jewish quarter “the Mellah”, where you will have the option to visit one of the few living synagogues in Morocco. Your tour of Fez includes a short visit to the famous ceramic factory, and then you can enjoy a wonderful panoramic view over the whole Medina of Fez.
Lodging in your hotel or Riad
Early rise to continue our tour. Our driver will pick you up at your Hotel / Riad in Fez. We start to discover some of Morocco's beautiful mountainous landscape today as we leave Fez and follow ancient caravan routes up into the hills. Along the way we'll stop at Ifran, known as the ''Switzerland of Morocco'' and a huge contrast to some of the other more Arabic feeling cities you'll see in Morocco. The French built Ifran in the 1930s, with the intention of recreating an alpine style resort, here you'll see beautiful parks with lakes, flower beds, and red roofed houses throughout what was named the second cleanest city in the world in 2013. We will make a stop at the cedar forests of Azrou where the wild monkeys are located.
It will be a good opportunity to take photos of wilderness in Morocco. We continue our journey through the Middle Atlas Mountains enjoying the landscapes to arrive at the small town of Midelt where we’ll stop for lunch. Next, we head on through the hills and through the scenic Ziz Valley as we descend to Erfoud on the edge of the Sahara Desert. We'll then drive in 4WD vehicles through the desert to Merzouga and the famous Erg Chebbi sand dunes. Here we transfer to camels (dromedaries) and take a sunset camel ride through the sand dunes to a traditional Berber camp nestled right on the edge of the dunes. You can enjoy some spectacular views over the sand dunes as the sun sinks below the horizon before enjoying a hearty Berber meal and a campfire this evening, often with local musicians helping enhance the atmosphere. You spend the night sleeping in comfortable Berber tents (Haima) under a blanket of stars.
Today is a complete desert day. Early start to watch the sunrise over the spectacular Merzouga dunes around the camp. This is a once in a lifetime experience that you will not soon forget and one of the high points of our journey. We will return by camels (dromedary) to the town of Merzouga where we will have breakfast and start a full day of desert adventures.
First, we’ll head towards Erg Chebbi, location of the Large Dune, Morocco’s biggest, around 250 m in height. Departure in 4×4 along part of the route of the Paris/Dakar itinerary, with the mountains along the border of Morocco and Algeria on the horizon. Stop at Tissardmin oasis where we can find fossil quarries still present in the area. We will visit the Khamlia Village whose inhabitants are direct descendants from the Gnawa tribe, originating from sub-Saharan countries such as the Sudan, Mali and Niger, who were forcibly moved from their homelands across the Sahara to Morocco as part of the worldwide slave trade. Here we will relax with some mint tea while listening to authentic Gnawa spiritual music played by local musicians. Next, we will visit a traditional nomad family and learn about some of their customs. After lunch we will return to the hotel and you will have the afternoon free to visit the village, climb the dunes or just relax.
Dinner and lodging at the Hotel
Early rise to watch the sunrise over the spectacular Merzouga dunes around the camp. This is a once in a lifetime experience that you will not soon forget and one of the high points of our journey. We will return by camels (dromedary) to the town of Merzouga where we will have breakfast. After saying farewell to the desert, we will head towards Rissani, where we will visit the local market.
A former major caravan center, Rissani remains a major commercial center in the region, with a large souk, particularly lively on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. We continue then to Erfoud where we can visit the manufactures of fossilized marble before starting our way to Touroug and Tinjdad palm groves. One hour later we'll reach one of the best places of the High Atlas, the Todra Gorges. The course of the river has carved out this cliff-sided canyon and it's because of its beauty and the high rock sides that's very popular among climbers.
After a short walk through the sheer cliffs of the Todra Gorge, we will take a short break for lunch. In the afternoon we continue to the Dadès valley, also known as the valley of figs, going through Boumalne Dadés where we’ll stop at the “monkey legs”.
Dinner and lodging at the Dadès Gorges.
After breakfast we will continue our tour crossing the Valley of Dadès, visiting along the way the numerous berber villages that give this area its name, “The Land of a Thousand Kasbahs.” We will continue on a mountain road until arriving at Amgoune, while having the opportunity to see nomads along the way.
We will drive through the exotic Oasis of Skoura and visit the Kasbah of Ameridel and the town of El-Keela M´gouna in the Valley of the Roses, until arriving at the Lake of Ouarzazate, where we will make a stop for lunch. Later we will head towards Ait Ben Haddou, an ighrem (fortified village), and traditional Mud Brick city on the edge of the High Atlas Mountains. It is on the UNESCO World Heritage List and has been featured in many films including Lawrence of Arabia, Gladiator, Game of Thrones and many others.
Dinner and lodging.
Early morning departure from your Hotel/Riad. We will then head towards the High Atlas Mountains via the Tizi n’Tichka Pass (2260m), the highest point in Morocco. Along the way we will make several stops in order to view and appreciate the magnificent views which include the Berber villages which seem to be born out of the mountains themselves. After lunch in Marrakech we will continue on towards the coast, until reaching Essaouira.
Dinner and lodging.
Essaouira, a colourful fishing town situated within 15th century Portuguese fortifications, where great beaches and surf beckon. With the opening of Morocco to the rest of the world at the end of the 17th century, the Medina of Essaouira was laid out by a French architect who had been profoundly influenced by the work of the military engineer Vauban at Saint Malo.
For the most part, it has retained its appearance of a European town. Relax on the beach or alternatively explore the UNESCO-listed medina with its various souks and woodcarving workshops. Any city gate leads to the medina, so you’re unlikely to get lost. The beach is in front of the Medina and there are plenty of cafés with terraces, both ideal for relaxing for a few hours. Blue doors and window frames abound as do the artists shops
We will return to Marrakech in the late afternoon.
Dinner and lodging in Riad.
After breakfast in the Riad, you will meet your local guide and tour the sites with historical and cultural interest. Marrakech is the second most important of the four imperial cities which include, Fez, Meknes and Rabat, and is considered a symbol of Morocco and today it is one of the busiest cities in Africa.
Visit the Koutoubia, a 12th-century Mosque and minaret, still topped with four copper globes. Then, explore Bahia Palace, where 360 rooms were once adorned with Italian marble and Sudanese gold. For a more recent archaeological find, you'll see the richly decorated tombs of the Saadi Dynasty, as well as the old Jewish quarter, “The Mellah”. Finally, end the morning by walking through the medina alleys, getting a chance to admire all of the different artisans performing their crafts before arriving at the famous Jemaa el-Fnaa Square. Lunch at a restaurant near the square, and then in the afternoon visit the Majorelle Gardens, and visit Gueliz, the new city of Marrakech. After dinner you will have the option to walk through the Jemaa el-Fnaa square entertained by magicians, story-tellers, tooth-pullers and food sellers.
Breakfast and lodging.
In the morning we will head towards Casablanca, the financial capital of Morocco and mythical city along the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. In Casablanca you will see the Hassan II Mosque, the largest one outside of Mecca and experience the coastal Cornish seaside.
Then we'll drive to Rabat, Morocco's administrative capital and tour the old town, including the Royal Palace (Mechouar), the Oudaya Kasbah, Hassan Tower, and Mohammed V Mausoleum. We leave Rabat and drive towards Asilah. Its old town, or medina, is enclosed by well-preserved 15th-century ramparts and gates, built by colonial Portuguese. The medina is an art hub, known for its murals and Moussem Culturel International d’Asilah, an annual festival. Venues include the exhibition space Centre de Hassan II Rencontres Internationales and early-20th-century Palais Raissouni.
Dinner and lodging in Hotel of your choice in Asilah.
Breakfast and transfer to port or airport at pre-arranged time. Our services end here. Until next time!!!